|Named By:||William R. Hammer & William J. Hickerson in 1994|
|Time Period:||Early Jurassic, 194-188 Ma|
|Location:||Antarctica - Hanson Formation|
|Size:||Estimated at 6.5 meters long, Skull sixty-five centimetres long|
|Fossil(s):||Skull, mandible (jaw bone) as well as partial post cranial remains that include vertebrae, hip, leg and foot bones. Specimen is possibly of a sub adult|
|Classification:||| Chordata | Reptilia | Dinosauria | Saurischia | Theropoda | Dilophosauridae ||
Cryolophosaurus ( or ; "CRY-oh-loaf-oh-SAWR-us") is a genus of large theropods known from only a single species Cryolophosaurus ellioti, known from the early Jurassic period of Antarctica. It was about 6.5 metres (21.3 ft) long and 465 kilograms (1,025 lb) in weight, making it one of the largest theropods of its time. Individuals of this species may have grown even larger, because the only known specimen probably represents a sub-adult. Cryolophosaurus is known from a skull, a femur and other material, the skull and femur of which have caused its classification to vary greatly. The femur possesses many primitive characteristics that have classified Cryolophosaurus as a dilophosaurid or a neotheropod outside of Dilophosauridae and Averostra, where as the skull has many advanced features, leading the genus to be considered a tetanuran, an abelisaurid, a ceratosaur and even an allosaurid. Since its original description, the consensus is that Cryolophosaurus is either a primitive member of the Tetanurae or a close relative of that group.
Cryolophosaurus possessed a distinctive crest on its head that spanned the head from side to side, similar to a Spanish comb. Based on evidence from related species and studies of bone texture, it is thought that this bizarre crest was used for intra-species recognition. The brain of Cryolophosaurus was also more primitive than those of other theropods.
Cryolophosaurus was first excavated from Antarctica's Early Jurassic, Sinemurian to Pliensbachian aged Hanson Formation, formerly the upper Falla Formation, by paleontologist Dr. William Hammer in 1991. It was the first carnivorous dinosaur to be discovered in Antarctica and the first non-avian dinosaur from the continent to be officially named. The sediments in which its fossils were found have been dated at ~194 to 188 million years ago, representing the Early Jurassic Period.